Laviinia Dhanagunan sellects 9 books as your travel companions

Update:13 Dec 2010
Laviinia Dhanagunan collects 9 books as companions of your journey
 
The best travel companion is perhaps a good book. Laviinia Dhanagunan gathers her best reads and tells us why she likes them.

1. The Godfather (Mario Puzo)

< leaving for Sri Lanka. His 10 years is distilled into 930 pages, and he does it rather well. It's gripping, giving you an insight into the underworld and life in Mumbai's slums. The book has been pegged as largely factual, but the author has said it's mostly fiction with elements taken from true events and people.
 
2. Down Under (Bill Bryson)
 
THIS celebrated travel author's books are a delight to read as he likes to poke fun at himself and his escapades. I love how well-researched his books are and the wealth of information they contain. This book is no different, as evidenced from the first page when he talks about how then Australian prime minister Harold Holt in 1967 disappeared while out on a evening walk one day. Every page has an interesting nugget for readers to ponder on. If this book gets under your skin, try and pick up these three titles of his - Mother Tongue, Short History of Nearly Everything and Notes from a Small Island.
 
3. Love Story (Erich Segal)
 
THIS book, which boasts a movie of the same title, is adapted from a screenplay by Segal, and from its very first line, "What can you say about a 25-year-old girl who died?", I'm already hooked. It has themes of despair, hope and love, and it gets more intriguing as you turn the pages. The tone is easy, with subjects most people can identify with, for example, when children become adults and how that changes their relationship with their parents, or how married life isn't a bed of roses.
 
4. From Here To Paternity (Matt Dunn)
 
READERS follow Will Jackson in a somewhat incredible journey in becoming a parent. Some parts of his experience will make you cringe, but you will have to admire him for doing it to fulfil his inner need. This journey also brings up a part of his past withheld from him - of why his father left home and how he tried to stay in touch. I hardly read "chick lit" written by men, but I'm glad I did for this book as it really cracked me up.
 
5. A Suitable Boy (Vikram Seth)
 
THIS tale, set in the time just after post-independence and post-partition India, is about Lata Mehra and the four families linked to her - her family, the Kapoors to whom her sister Savita married into, the family of the Nawab of Baitar who are close friends of the Kapoors, and the Chatterjis to whom her brother Arun married into. It has comedy, romance and parental love, and being Asian I can easily identify with the characters and their situations. Not surprisingly, it's one of the more well-thumbed books in my library.
 
6. Shantaram (Gregory David Roberts)
 
SHANTARAM, or Gregory David Roberts, arrived in India as a fugitive and spent 10 years there before leaving for Sri Lanka. His 10 years is distilled into 930 pages, and he does it rather well. It's gripping, giving you an insight into the underworld and life in Mumbai's slums. The book has been pegged as largely factual, but the author has said it's mostly fiction with elements taken from true events and people.
 
7. The Book Thief (Markus Zusak)
 
THE main character is Liesel Meminger whose life story is told by Death, a force she would meet three times in the course of her life. As a book lover, I can identify with her passion for literature. What's awesome is the great lengths she will go to get her hands on a book. This story, set during Nazi Germany, also gives you a peek into what life was like for people at that time.

8. Lovely Green Eyes (Arnost Lustig)

THIS book is also set during Nazi Germany, but it has a harsher theme as it deals with life behind the walls of concentration camps. It's about Hanka Kaudersova, also known as "Skinny" or "Lovely Green Eyes", told from a third person's perspective. This changes in the latter stages when the story is told through a man, who later became her husband. Despite the hopelessness of her situation, it's inspiring to see how she wills herself to survive. This may be a heavy choice for an evening's read, but it's worth each tear into the heart, each wince at the hurt Kaudersova goes through in her young life.
 
9. Somewhere, Home (Nada Awar Jarrar)

THIS book, set in Lebanon, weaves the stories of three women - Maysa, Aida and Salwa - each returning to, or still searching, for somewhere that they can call "home". The three parts, dedicated to each woman, detail their inner struggles and the incidents that lead them "home".

10. Bed of Roses (Nora Roberts)

THIS celebrated author is a master at quenching readers' thirst for a bit of unrealistic romance, and she does it again here. The second of the Bride Quartet, this book centres around Emmaline Grant and her three friends. As it's part of a series, this means its ending will introduce something new that will be explained in the next book.
 
SOURCE: New Straits Times
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